Wednesday, June 22, 2016
LETTER TO CAR RENTAL COMPANIES AND PAYPAL
7740 Balboa Blvd., #12
Van Nuys, CA 91406
(702) 488-1127 Cell Phone
John P. Tague, CEO
Hertz Car Rental Via Fax
Gary L. Paxton,
Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental Via Fax
Dan Schulman, CEO
Paypal Via Fax
Collateral Collections Via Email
Andrew C. Taylor, CEO
Enterprise Rental Car Via Fax
Uber via fax
When I found out Thrifty was choosing to auction off the car I rented to someone unsuspecting it had 3 recalls instead of either repairing the car, which is free to do by the way, or even choosing to donate it to our 501c3 nonprofit I was offering to do in order to change this situation into something positive, I felt compelled to alert you to the whole picture of what’s going on here.
Please allow me first to introduce myself. I am the founder of the modern day sex trafficking movement. In 1984, I created the first “safe house” for adult victims out of an old warehouse. I got arrested after an angry pimp claimed to the police I was running a brothel (you can see clips about this at www.hightechmadam.com).
Deciding to try another approach – in 1987 I created the first hotline which Polaris is modeled after, along with the first 12 step group, and alternative sentencing program, which for the first time treated these women like victims instead of criminals. After “raising awareness” this was in fact a real issue affecting Americans in modern times – we saw the Trafficking Act of 2000 passed.
Today I still run our survivor-answered hotline and Sex Workers Anonymous. We are still the only program in existence who works with adults who are male or female, as well as the LGBT community and transgenders. Something I understand your companies are very supportive of helping. If you look at any of the safe houses and programs now run by groups such as the Salvation Army or Catholic Charities – you’ll find they exclude men, transgenders, and the LGBT community. Not one of them will accept a transgender for example. Our hotline to date has answered five times more calls than Polaris’ National Trafficking Hotline.
Because of a stroke brought on by stress, I’m currently disabled and thus not working. On top of this, my daughter has a brain tumor. In order to get her better medical care – I relocated us to Los Angeles. However, our work in Nevada is also unique in that we are also the only program who helps women leave the legal brothels of Nevada this forces me to keep returning to Nevada often. There are no cabs or buses in these small rural areas where the brothels operate. There’s also a “curfew” law which prevents them from leaving the brothel on foot. Since most of these women are dropped off by their pimps – the only way for them to leave in most cases is if I go and physically pick them up in my car.
On April 12, 2016, I received a call from a woman in distress. She needed to be picked up and relocated to safety away from her pimp. My car, a 1994 Toyota Tercel I bought for $800 was in bad need of repairs I couldn’t afford. Again because I’m trying to do this work while on a fixed income. I have no time for fund raisers because our hotline is constantly ringing with calls needing help NOW.
It seemed cheaper for me to rent a car for what I thought was going to be a few days to go get her than to do these repairs. I couldn’t say no. Going online, I found most car rentals for a week were quite pricey. I managed to find a good deal at Thrifty Car Rental. However, to get that deal I was told I had to go to the LAX terminal. Since I was having to pay a cab to take me there – I asked if I couldn’t get the same rate on a car at a valley branch which was closer to me. I was told “no”. By the way, because I’m still a Nevada resident, and because of answering the hotline, I record all my calls. Nevada is a “one party consent” state. This means I’ve got a tape of every call I’ve made discussed in this letter.
I had seen the news about the pledge all of the major companies signed to not rent recalled cars. Because of this I thought I was renting a good solid safe car. I also thought this might allow me to pick up some extra work driving for Uber. I put a lot of miles on a car, and needed to also find work. Not easy with my limitations and situation. I also couldn’t really afford it, and needing money for my repairs, I justified the expense by thinking I’d use it to get hired with Uber. I’d also read the news I was allowed to work for Uber in California using a rental car. So after I picked up my rental, I went over to Uber to get it inspected. Only to be told I couldn’t because the car had Oregon plates on it for some reason.
Since I was on my way to Nevada that day, I told myself I would try to get the car inspected there. Yet when I went to the Nevada Uber location – they also refused to inspect me. When I asked why – they again pointed out the fact I had Oregon plates. I couldn’t afford to rent with anyone else, especially since I don’t have a credit card, so I thought maybe I could just exchange the car I had with another one with California or Nevada plates.
So I went down to the various lots all day that day looking over the cars for one with those plates. At no Thrifty location in Nevada could I find one car with either a California or Nevada plate. When I went to pick up this woman in crisis, we were then trying to get her home before the pimp did. I got pulled over for speeding in Nevada.
Most cops in Nevada don’t like me very much because I’ve been part of getting a few of them fired for corruption. I even helped get Joohoon David Lee arrested – a Homeland Security officer, along with Chief Gillispie for corruption. So when I got pulled over – the officer was looking extra hard for something to arrest me for. This means he went the extra mile looking for anything to give me a hard time about, and found my rental had recalls on it.
Then he told me he should impound the car and leave me there on the side of the road. However, we explained the mission I was on and he allowed us to leave with one caveat – to finish what we were doing and then I was to go home and stop driving the car immediately. He further told me to have the company also tow the car back as it was not safe to be on the road. I agreed and contacted Thrifty.
Thrifty had reversed my whole deposit of $350 on April 17th. It was my understanding our agreement was voided then. The issue now became getting it back to Thrifty. Then the collection agency told me they had reported the car stolen. Scared I was going to be arrested – I went online to see if this was true. I then learned this car had THREE recalls on it – one for the airbags, the second for a coil problem, and the third for a door that swings open because of a faulty latch.
But the issue of working for Uber remained. Upon contacting them to find out why they wouldn’t accept a car with Oregon plates being I would be hired as a “freelancer”, I was again told I could not work with Oregon plates on the car. This didn’t make sense to me as I’ve worked as a freelancer for over 20 years now and my understanding is that this means I provide my own tools. It’s also my understanding if you force me to have specific tools, or purchase them from a specific place, or dictate what tools I use in ANY fashion – then I become an “employee”. So I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t being allowed to drive for Uber in a perfectly good 2015 Nissan.
“Perfectly good” however seemed to be the key word considering I’d found three recalls on the car when I ran the Carfax on it’s VIN. The fact this car was recalled was allowing me to understand it better when I was then told that not only could I not drive a car with Oregon plates, but that I could only work for Uber in a rental if I used only a rental obtained from the Long Beach, California Enterprise location.
When I had spoken to Enterprise in Long Beach about why I could only use “certain” cars, this is when she said it was because they had passed “special” safety inspections. Now with this recall situation being uncovered, NOW I know that this means cars without recalls. That’s not cool – this means Enterprise is knowingly letting renters have less safety measures in place than their Uber client.
When I realized not only had I been rented a car with three recalls which Thrifty clearly decided to circumvent by registering the car in Oregon rather than repairing these defects, I knew that if I also just returned this car it would be simply re-rented or even sold to some other unsuspecting person. This meant I had to ask myself if there was some way this could be turned into something positive instead of negative. Sure I can go and make a report to the Dept. of Transportation who I understand can come out and inspect your cars and issue a $5000 fine for each car found to be improperly there – but maybe there was something else more positive which could come out of this.
A collection agency had contacted me asking to return the car. I told them I was not going to endanger myself, and others on the road, by driving this car another block. I told them if they wanted it to just come and pick it up. But they knew, and I knew, no legitimate towing company is going to come out and tow a car without the proper repossession paperwork. Something they’re not going to have and create any paper trail.
So I asked them to pass along to your company, Thrifty, an offer I was willing to take the car as a donation for our 501c3. For this, I could offer them more than a tax-write off but I could also further provide them with a lot of social media exposure about the donation. During which time I would also promote Thrifty was so remorseful about the whole situation they not only did this wonderful donation to help trafficking victims, but they further promised to go through their whole fleet and make sure this sort of thing didn’t happen again. I personally thought it was a “win win” idea for everyone.
A few days later however, I was in the shower room where I live (an RV park), and I returned to find someone had come onto my private property without permission, and then taken the car. They left me no paperwork of where my personal items were either so I could retrieve them which is required by law when a car is being repossessed. I therefore contacted the collection agency to find out where my personal items were – only to be ignored for 12 full days.
Finally at the end of 12 days of asking to receive no answer – I was told they were at Thrifty’s. Only Thrifty’s said they didn’t have the car. I threatened to go to the police and report the car, and my items, stolen. This in turn got me a message the car had been taken by a guy named “Dave”. When I googled Dave, he tried to tell me the car, and my items, were at Thrifty’s. I knew they weren’t. So I google this “Dave” to find he was an auction house. I told him I didn’t believe he’d taken it to Thrifty’s and I was going to go to the police if I didn’t get my items back. He then responded back yes he had my items.
Wondering why everyone was acting so completely ignorant of the law regarding repossessions, and why someone would knowingly drive that car after I’d told them an officer had told me to get it off the road, and they were to tow the car, along with why I never received any notification of where my items were, no one wants to even tell me where they are, etc. – I then learned neither the collection agency, nor the auction house, have any license in California as a collection agency, a private investigator, nor as a repossession agency. In other words, they entered onto my private property without consent as a private person, and basically then stole my items along with taking the car, and then further endangered lives by driving the car to the auction house. Where I believe the car is not only about to be sold – but sold to some other unsuspecting person who doesn’t know the car has three active recalls on it.
Here's where it gets interesting – I had Paypal take $1509.70 out of my account when I had nothing in my account. Normally when I have no balance and a charge comes in I don’t have the funds for – they will just bounce this charge. They didn’t bounce it and in fact overdrafted me. When I contacted them about this – I was told it was an “error” and it would be reversed by the morning. The next morning however $900 only had been credited. I called in about this to hear Paypal felt the charge was “legitimate” but they agreed it was “inflated” and “reduced it to an appropriate amount they felt was fair”. They aren’t a court of law however. They are a payment processing company. It’s not their place to “judge” what I pay on bills presented them they should have bounced. They merely are to say “yes” or “no”. Not enter into disputes about the “fairness” of the amount and negotiate prices.
I go online to learn I’m not the only one being mishandled by Paypal either. Seems they just lost a $25 million lawsuit for the same type of thing. Only I’m not so sure this is some kind of thing happening by mistake or bad training of their staff. I say that because just a few weeks before this my employer had $1000 taken out of his account and put into my account by “mistake”. I reversed it of course immediately. But then another $500 was taken out of his account by mistake also the next day. I reversed this again. Only a day after I reversed it again, Thrifty had tried to process a payment through. It was bounced because I had returned the money to my employer – but I can’t help now but wonder if this wasn’t Paypal trying to take money from him to pay Thrifty in light of what happened next here.
I presented Paypal with the proof it was not only illegal to have rented me the car in the first place BUT A CRIME according to the new law. I also showed them where I had been credited my deposit back in April which voided our contract out. Meaning they had no grounds upon which to pay Thrifty a dime ESPECIALLY in light of my not having funds in the account. Their response was to then REVERSE their decision ENTIRELY and inform me they were going to in fact now pay Thrifty the FULL $1509!!!
At that point I was speechless but it got better. Because in front of my eyes the ledger changed to say “hold” instead of credit for the $350. Now the balance showed it was a credit – but this meant Paypal had changed my ledger to try and support Thrifty’s position? An hour later I got a call from the DEBT COLLECTION DEPARTMENT. NOT THE DISPUTE DEPT. I clarified – they were the debt collection department. When I asked them why they were calling they said “Thrifty was no longer owed this debt but that I now owed THEM $1509.70 and they wanted to know how I was going to pay THEM”. By the way, I have saved screenshots showing how my ledger was changed in the middle of this.
I informed them it was THEIR decision to pay Thrifty - not mine and they could eat it. I also didn’t understand why I’m getting a call on a debt not an hour old when I’ve been overdrafted for days in the past without one call. When I let them know I wasn’t going to pay anyone anything on this amount – they decided to “be reasonable” again and said they had “adjusted the amount down to $500 they felt was fair”. I again responded they had no signed charge slip, no binding valid legal contract, I was not a POS trying to charge this, and because there was no funds in my account they should have bounced this charge. Therefore, I’m not paying anyone anything.
This resulted in yet a THIRD change on the amount. I got another email saying they were now going to charge me $600 they felt was “reasonable” considering I had “possession and use of the car”. Me having a car sit in my driveway I’m not driving because it’s unsafe, and that I’ve told Thrifty where it is, to come get it, and because they can’t find a tow company willing to tow this car without the right paperwork - is not something I’m going to pay them for. ESPECIALLY when it was AGAIN A CRIME.
Essentially a crime has been committed here and I now have Paypal trying to force me to pay Thrifty anyway because frankly they know there’s not a court anywhere that would make me pay them a dime for what they did here. In fact, if I go to an attorney and sue for emotional distress, and the danger they placed my family and myself in – I’d probably come out ahead here with an award.
What I see is everyone is working this racket together. I know Uber knows about it because that’s why they’re only allowing drivers to use cars provided by one location who is only allowing “special” cars to be used. This means Enterprise knows it is renting cars to it’s other customers that are not as safe. Thrifty is knowingly renting recalled cars at special “discounted” rates which is why only certain cars at certain locations are qualifying for those rates. This is why when caught – they brought in an unlicensed collection agency to come get that car over to an auction house that was wiling to unload it on someone else without putting the legally required notice across the windshield about this car being a recalled one (in this case with 3 recall), rather than repairing the car. Paypal knew I didn’t have the money to cover this $1500 – so they tried to take $1000 out of my employer’s account. I beat them to the punch however by returning it before they could put the charge through. That resulted in another attempt to pull out $500 of his money out probably assuming he wouldn’t notice a smaller amount so quickly.
When this didn’t work to get the amount they wanted – they just decided to throw me into $1500 overdrawn knowing I can’t operate, take orders or donations, or do any business, with such a negative balance. Then they had their debt collection department transfer Thrifty’s debt to Paypal. Who then tried to tell me it didn’t “matter anymore if the car rental was legal or not because this was now a Paypal debt I owed”. When I responded by telling them it was THEIR choice to pay Thrifty and incur that debt, it was not a debt I myself incurred, and therefore wasn’t going to pay them a dime – they’re now trying to negotiate with me for a smaller amount thinking I’ll just cave in to protect my account and credit which in itself is a form of blackmail. They’ve already taken a hit on a $25 million dollar lawsuit so what’s one more unhappy customer right? Only they’re trying to force me to pay for something that was a crime – which in my book makes them, and everyone, an accomplice to what’s going on here. Meaning I should report this to the US Attorney General’s Office as well as Consumer Affairs and the Dept. of Transportation.
I’ve read up on this and if I report this whole thing to the Secretary of Transportation they will come in and audit every car in all of your company’s fleets based on my complaint and issue your respective companies a $5000 fine per car per violation.
I find it hard to believe you’d rather do this, auction off that car for a few bucks, than discuss with me a way to instead donate that car to a worthy cause, get a tax write-off, some good publicity, and save yourself a huge audit, lawsuits, criminal complaints, and related scandal. Because trust me if they do auction off that car to some unsuspecting person who could die driving that car – I will make sure major media, not just social media, reports on this so that the public knows to do VIN checks on even rental cars in order to protect themselves in the future. I also don’t think Obama is going to be happy about the pledge your companies signed to not engage in this type of behavior being essentially now nothing more than advertising potential death traps. Two women have already died remember?
That’s why I’m not sure you guys up there at the top levels of these companies are aware of what’s going on down here at the retail level. Certainly if there is an audit and a scandal I don’t want you to use that as a defense. So I’m making you aware of what’s going on in this letter today.
If you’d like to talk about this further before I go to the courts, the press, and the Dept. of Transportation, as well as the banking commission over the way Paypal is acting, and the other related offices such as the Attorney General’s office, then you can reach me at the above phone number. Thank you for your time and listening to this situation.